Psychological Self-Help

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background, etc. tell us almost nothing about the basic nature of a specific
individual. If we prejudge a person on any of these bases, and most or all of
us do, we are prejudiced. Low-prejudice people with compunction have a
good chance to correct their errors. We don't yet know how to get the high
prejudiced people to see the irrationality and unfairness of generalizing from a
stereotype to a specific unique individual. But, I think they will eventually
learn from the rest of us to have compunction. 
Finally, we can all try to be as forgiving of others as we are of ourselves.
When we do poorly, we blame the situation. When someone else does poorly,
we conclude they are dumb or lazy. In competitive situations, if our rival is
successful, we say he/she was lucky. In cooperative situations, we can be as
generous with others as we are with ourselves, i.e. their successes are due to
skill and their failures are unfortunate breaks to be avoided next time. We
could be generous towards everyone. 
Nothing will make us so charitable and tender to the faults of others as to
thoroughly examine ourselves.
If Mr. X and Larry King can learn prejudice by hearing ignorant, hateful
comments by family and friends, why can't they learn to be unbiased by
reading about blacks (if they can't interact directly), reading about prejudice,
and challenging their own unreasonable thinking just like an overly self-
critical person might? Why not tell yourself: "A black or woman or
homosexual or body builder or unattractive small person or atheist or______
could be an excellent president or boss in my company." Or: "In selecting a
mate (or preparing to be one), pimples and bra or jock size are not nearly as
important as brains, values, and personality." 
Only we can do something about our subtle prejudices--it is our
responsibility to "clean up our act." If you are not almost constantly checking
your views and opinions of others for bias (prejudgments), you are probably
not successfully controlling your prejudice and discrimination. It is not easy.
But please, while you may have difficulty detecting all your prejudices, keep
on trying to detect your errors of prejudgment and remain contrite about
doing others wrong. 
It does seem that as a society we are reducing prejudice, but slowly. In
1942, only 30% favored desegregation in schools, in 1956, 49% did, in 1970
75% did, and in 1980 about 90% did. But, as we have seen, even with
desegregation, there is a long, long way to go before we "love thy neighbor
as thyself." Unfortunately, the highly prejudiced people can't see their
irrationality and unfairness; their hate unconsciously overwhelms their logic.
Each minimally prejudiced person has to keep confronting the highly
prejudiced people with reason. 
Why does it take so long to remove prejudice, unfairness, and
discrimination? Partly because prejudice and discrimination pays off in many
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